ALL SET FOR THE ARCTIC BLAST! #CHICKEN/VEGGIE SOUP

Well, dear momma said there’ll be days like this. And she was correct. On this day, in my neck of the woods, (So. Florida) I’ll be prepping and cooking for the arctic blast. Yes, I know you must be saying, “Florida!?”. Already, we’re experiencing a mix-bag of rain, wind and of course, a nose-dive of temperatures.

Yep! Those cold digits have long legs and as I pen,  they are making their way here. In a couple of days, temperatures will plummet to the low forties and in some  northern regions, twenties and thirties. Forecasters said there could be SNOW.

So, what does a sun gal do with all that thinning blood pulsating through her veins? Well, other than reaching for her coat, mittens and boots, she’ll heading for the kitchen alright. And, that’s what I did. Decided to prep and cook for later. So, when that cold weather pattern enters my locale, I will have some form of culinary control.

Made me a big pot of chicken and veggie soup.  Have done so a ‘million and one’ times. Had all my ingredients on hand.  With all my root veggies and other ingredients, (diced carrots, onions, celery, pumpkin, corn on the cob, fresh thyme, scallion, chicken noodle mix, etc) the whole process went quite smoothly.

I know my stomach and my palate will be very much satiated during this arctic spell. As I feast on this mouth-watering dish with perhaps a few crispy crackers, I’ll reach for my throw and dress in my favorite sweater while I let my remote lead me to something entertaining on the tube. Arctic blast….bring it on!

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NO MONKEY BUSINESS! #CHINESE FIVE-SPICE CHICKEN/FRIED RICE

It didn’t cost me much to visit  the Orient. The Chinese New Year was front and center on my mind as I prepared and cooked supper. This year, (starting Feb. 8), is “The Year of the Monkey”.

However, there was no monkey business in my kitchen. With the help of a popular over the counter spice (Chinese Five Spices), I was able to transform my chicken to an exotic and delicious dish.

CHINESE FIVE SPICES
CHINESE FIVE SPICES

Chinese Five Spices are made up anise, cinnamon, star anise cloves, ginger and sulfiting agents. These spices are very popular in the Chinese cuisine. This blend of warm and spicy-sweet flavors brought my chicken dish to another level. I used it sparingly as a little goes a long way.

I also added a small pinch to my whole-grain fried rice.  I tossed in an assortment of vegetables in the form of  broccoli, celery, shredded carrots,  onions, green peas and scallion which made my fried-rice a healthy treat.

Happy Chinese New Year to my Chinese friends and family!

ROASTED CURRIED CHICKEN/GARBANZO BEANS (CHICKPEAS)

When it comes to cooking, I love the idea of borrowing  and mixing  different spices and flavors. So, I was  quite excited to explore and swing with my native Caribbean and Mediterranean worlds.

I needed bold, colorful and exotic flavors to bring my chicken (half) to a spectacular level. Thus, all roads led me to a favorite of mine, curry powder. I selected a spicy specimen that sent my roasted curried chicken and garbanzo beans  over the top. Yes, I’ve often consumed curried chicken in a stewed form; but, never roasted.

I didn’t hold back on taste. The other ingredients added were:

  • Cumin
  • Grated onion
  • Crushed pimento (all spice)
  • Crushed garlic
  • Paprika
  • Salt and black pepper
  • Fresh thyme and rosemary
  • Olive oil and butter
  • Soy sauce
  • Ketchup
  • Sugar

    CHICKEN IN MARINADE
    CHICKEN IN MARINADE

After combining all ingredients, chicken was placed in marinade overnight. This allowed ingredients to greatly absorb in same. Chicken was removed from marinade brought to room temperature. Reserved marinade from chicken was placed in a stockpot with a squeeze of ketchup, sugar, vinegar and simmered to a sauce-like consistency.

Chicken  roasted at 360 degrees fahrenheit for 30 minutes. Then, another 30 minutes at 400 degrees fahrenheit (basting with simmered sauce) with skin-side up so as to gain a crispy skin. (N.B – Beforehand, herb butter was placed under skin. And, a few pats on skin for added crispness.

SEASONED GARBANZO BEANS FOR ROASTING
SEASONED GARBANZO BEANS FOR ROASTING

Beans were seasoned with a pinch of salt and curry powder, black pepper,  paprika, crushed garlic and a drizzle of olive oil. These were then  placed simultaneously in oven with chicken and roasted at 360 degrees fahrenheit for approximately 15 to 20 minutes until crispy.